Monday, January 24, 2005

The Power of Visualization in Poetry

I would like to first off appoligize for my late posting. Because of personal reasons, I had to neglect this aspect of my school work--a discouraging thought for myself because I enjoy the format of this class! Anyway, I had wanted to write about Shakespeare (I realize this seems to be a common theme among my past Blogs) because of our recent study of his work in tutorial.

I am reminded of the fact that it was said in class sometime at the commencement of our study of poetry, that poetry is meant to be read outloud. Simply reading poetry quitely to yourself in your head is not sufficient because you fail to hear the poetry (its rhyming, flow and emotion). Listening to poetry being read by someone else is doubley effective becaus it allows for us to absorb the words and their meaning without having to struggle with trying to decifer the meaning of each and every word as you read on. That is to say, it's easier to understand something if it is read to you rather that you reading it yourself.

To take this to an even further extent, however, would be to say that I dont' think that it is very beneficial to merely read Shakespeare's plays outloud. Although the majority of his plays are comprised of a significant amount of poetry (in the form of blank verse), we have to keep in mind that they were written in a time when literacy did not flourish like it does today. As such, the purpose of these plays was to be performed. Therefore, I find that when I'm reading one of Shakespeare's plays, I fail to absorb the detailed meaning of the play. Rather, when I watch an interpretive production of one of Shakespeare's plays, I find it much easier to comprehend the meaning of the play. Shakespeare has the reputation in today's society as being hard to understand because of it's highly metaphoric and 'old' English style, and when we try to read the poem (be it out loud or in our head), we often struggle with the language. When we see it performed, however, the emotion, actions and reactions of the actors help us to understand the language that much better.

I found that this held very true when we watched Henry V in tutorial last Monday. A play that would have been difficult to understand because of its historical content, came to life for us on the television screen. Thank you for deciding to show us this in class Rosita--it was helpful in helping us to see the evidence of poetry in Shakespeare's play, and most importantly, it helped us to really comprehend and enjoy the value of this poetry.


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